OnePlus 3 vs. OnePlus X: Is the OnePlus 3 worth the extra dough?

OnePlus 3
Andy Boxall/Digital Trends
OnePlus finally unveiled the OnePlus 3, a solid flagship smartphone that’s affordable and powerful. If you’ve been following OnePlus, however, you’ll know that it also recently released an even more affordable phone — the OnePlus X. The latter represents the company’s first midrange phone with midrange specs, and while the X isn’t a flagship, it’s still a great device. But how does it compare with the OnePlus 3? Below, we’ve pitted the two phones against one another, so you can see for yourself.

OnePlus 3

OnePlus 3

OnePlus X

OnePlus X

Size 152.7 x 74.7 x 7.4mm (6.01 x 2.94 x 0.29-inches)  140 x 69 x 6.9mm (5.51 x 2.72 x 0.27-inches)
Weight 5.57oz  4.87oz
Screen Size 5.5-inch AMOLED  5.0-inch AMOLED
Resolution 1,080 x 1,920 pixels  1,080 x 1,920 pixels
OS Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow w/ Oxygen OS  Android 5.1 Lollipop w/Oxygen OS
Storage 64GB  16GB
SD Card Slot No  Yes
NFC support Yes  No
Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 820  Qualcomm Snapdragon 801
RAM  6GB  3GB
Connectivity  GSM/CDMA/HSPA/EVDO/LTE  GSM/CDMA/HSPA/EVDO/LTE
Camera  16MP Rear / 8MP Front  13MP Rear / 8MP Front
Video  4K  1,080p
Bluetooth  4.2  4.1
Fingerprint sensor  Yes  No
Water Resistant No  No
Battery  3,000mAh  2,525mAh
Ports  USB-C, Headphone  microUSB, Headphone
Quick Charging  Yes, Dash Charge  No
Wireless Charging  No  No
Color options  Graphite  Onyx, Ceramic, Champagne
Price  $400  $200
Availability  Unlocked  Unlocked
DT Review 4/5 Stars 3.5/5 Stars

Specs

OnePlus-X-review_9345
Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

We’re not trying to see which phone is better here — it’s obvious that the OnePlus 3 is. Just how much better, however, is up for debate. Let’s start with the processor. The OnePlus 3 makes use of Qualcomm’s flagship processor, the Snapdragon 820. This is a chip that should be able to handle everything you have to throw at it for at least the next few years. The Snapdragon 801 found in the X doesn’t have as much longevity. Although it’s not a bad processor, it’s certainly not the most capable one on the market.

Basically, if you expect to game, edit media, or do anything else that may require a heavy-duty processor, you’re going to want the OnePlus 3. For those simply looking to browse social media and handle emails, however, the OnePlus X is more than capable. There’s just one huge problem with the OnePlus X: If you live in the U.S., you can’t use it. The phone doesn’t support U.S. bands. The onePlus 3, however, is fully functional in the States.

When it comes to RAM, which will also impact the performance of your device, the OnePlus 3 once again is a high performer. In fact, it’s a speed demon, one that boasts a whopping 6GB of RAM compared to the OnePlus X’s 3GB. It’s important to note that the OnePlus 3 is one of only a few devices to offer 6GB of RAM, however, as 3GB remains the standard. Still, if you’re looking for a performance beast, look no further than the OnePlus 3.

Storage capacity also sets the two phones apart. While the OnePlus 3 offers a hefty 64GB of space, the X takes things down a notch, sitting at 16GB. Still, the X offers something that the 3 does not — a MicroSD card slot. OnePlus has never been one to use MicroSD card slots in its flagship phones, but it’s clear that it wanted to reduce cost as much as possible for the X and realized that 16GB simply might not be enough for many users.

Battery life is likely to be a little better on the OnePlus 3 than the X, though, as it has a larger battery capacity and the same display, which is what consumes most of the battery.

Winner: OnePlus 3

Design

oneplus-3-news-2

This one’s kind of interesting. Smartphone companies, led by Apple, have long used the art of minimalism to create beautiful phones. So much so that, these days, we often look for a simpler phone because it’s more in line with our design sensibilities. In the case of the OnePlus 3 and X, the X looks far more basic than the 3. It has a sleek backing with a logo in the middle, along with a camera in the top left. Moreover, it’s thinner than the 3. It’s expected that the device would be shorter and less wide than the OnePlus 3 because of the smaller screen size, but it’s nice that it’s thinner too.

Of course, that’s not to say that the OnePlus 3 isn’t a great-looking device. It’s sleek and stylish, and also very minimalistic. It seems to take design cues from Apple and HTC, but it looks great. The all-metal build is sturdy and polished, making it look like a true flagship phone.

The OnePlus 3 is only available in “Graphite,” while the X comes in either Onyx, Ceramic, or Champagne. However, you can get special wooden, leather, and other slim cases for the OnePlus 3 to jazz it up a bit.

Winner: OnePlus 3

Display

OnePlus-X-review_9340
Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

The display on the two OnePlus devices isn’t exactly a point of contention, either. They tout the same resolution, though the display on the OnePlus 3 is slightly larger at 5.5 inches. What that means is that the display on the OnePlus X is slightly more crisp than that on the OnePlus 3, which comes in at 5 inches. Apart from the size, however, there’s really no difference — both have AMOLED displays with 1,080 x 1,920-pixel resolution.

Winner: Tie

Camera

oneplus-3-news-3

The camera is perhaps one of the biggest differences between the two devices. The camera on the OnePlus 3 has a 16-megapixel sensor with an f/2.0 aperture, phase detection autofocus, optical image stabilization, and an LED flash. By comparison, the OnePlus X has a 13-megapixel sensor and an f/2.2 aperture, which means images won’t be as large and the camera won’t function as well in low-light situations. It has the same phase detection autofocus and LED flash as the OnePlus 3, however it does not have the optical image stabilization.

On top of that, the OnePlus 3 also has support for RAW photos and the ability to capture 4K video. The OnePlus X can only capture 1,080p.

In other words, while the OnePlus X camera will be decent, it won’t stand up against the OnePlus 3. The latter simply has better camera specs.

Winner: OnePlus 3

Software

OnePlus X
Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

There’s not too much to discuss here, as your software experiences on both devices will be roughly the same. The OnePlus X ships with Android 5.1, however its updatable to Android 6.0, which is what ships on the OnePlus 3. Both devices feature OnePlus’ Oxygen OS Android overlay, but it’s close to stock Android and it doesn’t have much bloatware and extra services.

Winner: Tie

Conclusions

While both the OnePlus 3 and the OnePlus X are from the same company, they’re very different phones. In fact, they were intended to be so. The OnePlus X is a midrange phone, not a flagship like the 3. On top of that, it’s a midrange phone from last year. The OnePlus 3 is a phone for the tech geek — if you need a powerful smartphone that will last you for the next few years, the OnePlus 3 is the device for you. It also boasts top-of-the-line specs at an affordable price. The OnePlus X, however, is a great choice for those who need to make calls, text, browse social media, and perform other simple tasks — assuming you live in Europe or outside of the States.

Overall, the OnePlus 3 is the winner here. For $400, you get an amazing flagship phone with all the bells and whistles you’d expect from a Samsung Galaxy S7 or LG G5.

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